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China takes more measures to protect healthcare workers in Wuhan virus outbreak

China takes more measures to protect healthcare workers in Wuhan virus outbreak

Medical staff transfer a patient from an ambulance at the Jinyintan hospital, where the patients with pneumonia caused by the new strain of coronavirus are being treated, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China January 20, 2020. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING: China is taking stricter measures in hospitals to protect healthcare workers in the new coronavirus outbreak and will increase training for healthcare workers nationwide, officials from the country's health commission said on Wednesday (Jan 22).

READ: Wuhan virus: Number of cases soars past 400 in China, death toll rises to 9

Infection of medical staff in the outbreak shows there are loopholes in treatment methods, Jiao Yahui told a press briefing in Beijing.

Fifteen healthcare workers in Wuhan have been diagnosed with pneumonia, with an additional worker suspected of having the disease, it was reported on Tuesday. One of them is in critical condition.

Gao Fu, head of China's Disease Control Centre, also told the briefing that authorities are still learning about the new virus, when asked to compare its deadliness to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2003.

CHINESE PHYSICIAN CLAIMS TO BE INFECTED

One Chinese physician who was investigating the outbreak claimed he was infected.

Wang Guangfa, who heads the Department of Pulmonary Medicine at Beijing's Peking University First Hospital, was part of a team of experts that earlier this month visited Wuhan, where the coronavirus emerged.

Chinese state television reported on Wednesday morning that Wang had been in treatment in isolation since Tuesday, suspected of being infected by the new coronavirus.

"I was diagnosed and my condition is fine," Wang told Hong Kong's Cable TV on Tuesday, thanking people for their concern.

Wang, who conducted research on SARS in 2003, said he was receiving treatment and would receive an injection soon. He did not give details on how he may have been infected.

"I don't want everyone to put too much attention on my condition," he said.

Wang told state media on Jan 10 that the outbreak appeared to be under control, with most patients showing mild symptoms and some having been discharged. 

READ: Wuhan pneumonia outbreak: A timeline of how the new coronavirus spread

The number of deaths from the virus has climbed to nine as of the end of Tuesday, an official from China's national health commission deputy head Li Bin said in an update on Wednesday.

There are a total of 440 confirmed cases in 13 provinces across the country, Li said, while more than 2,000 cases of close contact have also been detected.

The authorities have confirmed the virus is contagious between humans, and the World Health Organization announced that a key emergency committee will meet this week to discuss the infections. 


Source: AGENCIES/aa

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